Trying to help her student with hypersensitivity to touch, Jessica Ralli stumbled upon a fact many parents with kids with sensory disorders already knew: Dressing is especially difficult.
"I went online and Googled clothing for kids with sensory disorders and was completely shocked and blown away that nothing really came up ... except a couple of therapeutic companies," says Ralli, a special education teacher in the New York City public school system.
The Soft difference
What she says she found instead was a world of parents sharing their frustrations about clothes on blogs and in discussion forums and swapping tips on ways to modify mass-market clothes.
Over the next year and a half, Ralli, who wanted to combine her passions for fashion and helping kids with special needs, asked a lot of questions and listened. Then she met her partner, Chicago mom Suzy Kogen Friedman, an entrepreneur and advocate for people with special needs. Friedman was searching for clothes her nephew, who has autism, would be comfortable in.
Those affordable and fashionable clothes-T-shirts, dresses, dressier shirts, pants and, soon, jeans-are now finally available, thanks to their company, Soft, www.softclothing.net. The feedback from parents trying out the clothes, including those at Chicago Parent, has been positive.
The clothes, they say, are indeed soft and comfortable.